Lecture 1 - Lecture 1 Communication, Meaning, Media and...

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Lecture 1Communication, Meaning, Media and Society A History of Communication An Introduction to the Class Communication is: A continuous process in which one person affects another. We cannot not communicate All of our current communication is influenced by our past communication Communication begins as the sharing of meaning through signs. Signs The basis of all communication A sign denotes something other than itself Meaning is the link between the thing and the sign As the basis of communication Signs are used by humans and animals Are most useful in the present (here and now) Are typically not very abstract or complex Symbols A special kind of sign: Most have no natural connection with the thing they represent Are used by humans and higher-level creatures to communicate *Make language possible* *May allow for abstract thought* **How can you tell a sign from a symbol or something else? It all depends upon meaning** Meaning is taught to others through repetition in similar contexts Meaning can also be communicated without signs or symbols –
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through posture manipulating objects using colors, etc. Meaning is almost impossible to reconstruct if you are not part of the culture We can construct explanations for signs and symbols we think are more likely than other explanations They are not necessarily “true” They are not necessarily correct. They will be subject to revision and argument These explanations are like theories Potential explanations: Can be disproved, rejected, improved upon, forgotten about May be completely wrong May be partially correct Attempt to attach meaning to an observation This class is about communication history It’s presented as a story It’s a reconstruction of what we believe to have happened – a kind of theory We are dealing with material that has to be interpreted from a distance The book will give some explanations; I will sometimes give different explanations. Because of the subjective meanings we have in our heads… We often interpret the past through the present We may misrepresent what occurred – especially the motivations for what occurred or even misunderstand the facts of what has occurred motivations (psychological and social aspects) are usually more interesting than the facts of history.
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Lecture 1 - Lecture 1 Communication, Meaning, Media and...

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